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High Performance Polymers in the Aerospace and Automotive Sectors

High Performance Polymers in the Aerospace and Automotive Sectors

Considering the global trends in automotive and aerospace focusing on improving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon footprint, these polymers can offer new possibilities in performance by replacing metals. However, it is a challenge to make the right choice of polymer grade for a specific end-use application due to the complexities involved in material selection, design and processing so as to achieve equivalent or better performance as metals at a competitive price.

This research service titled “High Performance Polymers for Automotive and Aerospace Industries

(TechVision)” discusses the Top 12 High Performance Polymers that are considered as an alternative to metals in automotive and aerospace industries. We present a benchmarking analysis of these polymers based on factors that affect their attractiveness in end-use industries. Factors such as functional capabilities, strength, durability, processability and price are evaluated for each polymer.

Polymers evaluated include PEEK, PI, PAI, PEI, PFA, PSU, PESU, PPSU, PVDF, PPA, PPS and LCP.

Key properties of each polymer that act as indicators for performance factors are identified and presented in detail. Assessment of needs from different application segments in both automotive and aerospace industries is carried out to identify gaps.

A listing of key innovations, stakeholder initiatives and patent filing trends from both automotive and aerospace industries is included to give an indication of the road ahead and companies to watch in the next 2-3 years.


  • Executive Summary
    • Research Scope
    • Research Methodology
    • MDDF Strategy Focused on Making Mobility Greener and Safer
    • TWO Indices at the core of FOUR facets that define performance
    • Cost-to-performance a Key Deciding Factor For Material Choice
  • High Performance Polymers - An Overview
    • HPP Considered as an Evolving Class of Polymers With High Strength and Endurance Characteristics
    • Molecular Morphology Dictates High Temperature Performance
    • Product Development Focus is Aligned With Application Needs
    • TWO Indices: Lightweight Strength and Wear-friction Performance That Govern Adoption
    • Lightweight Strength Matrix Groups High Performance Polymers Into 3 Material Classes
    • Frost & Sullivan Analysis Showcases that Endurance is a Key Choice for Selection of HPP
    • Frost & Sullivan Analysis Exhibits the Wear-friction Performance Dependencies
    • PSU & PESU Exhibit the Highest Wear-friction Performance Index
  • Technology Benchmarking of High Performance Polymers
    • Fire Resistant Lightweight Materials Require Thermal Stability
    • Mechanical Properties Defining Strength and Dimensional Stability
    • Criteria that Define Wear-friction Performance and Moldability
    • Processability Related to Temperature-viscosity Correlation
    • Rating Scales to Compare Performance Indicators of High Performance Polymers
    • PEEK: Versatile Polymer For High Strength, Low Tolerance Parts
    • PEI: Stiff and Strong Polymer for High Impact Applications
    • PAI: Rated High on Strength and Stability, and Ease of Processing
    • PSU: FST Compliant, Fuel Friendly, Wear Resistant Polymer
    • PESU: Excellent Wear Resistance and Dimensional Stability
    • PPSU: Superior Thermal Stability With High Melt Viscosity
    • LCP: Strong High Flow Grades Enable Molding of Precision Parts
    • PPS: Material of Choice For Complex Parts With Tight Tolerance
    • PPA: High Strength-to-weight Ratio and Good Dimensional Stability
    • PFA: A Smoother, Lighter, And Stronger Version of PTFE
    • PARA: Smooth, Stiff, and Dimensionally Stable Alternative to PA 6/6
    • PI: An Expensive Star Performer For Stiff Tight Tolerance Parts
  • High Performance Polymers in the Automotive Industry
    • Moving Toward a Sustainable, Low Carbon Mobility Scenario
    • Realized Benefits Encouraging OEMs to Look Beyond Barriers
    • A Growing List of Use Cases Across Application Segments for High Performance Polymers
    • Thermal Management Systems: Lightweighting Objectives Create New Heat Dissipation Problems
    • Thermal Management Systems: PPS and PPA Top in Design
    • Fuel Systems: OEMs Scramble to Meet CARB and EPA Standards
    • Fuel Systems: PPA and PPS Meet Changing Dynamics in Material Selection Criteria
    • Powertrain: Lightweighting and Parts Consolidation Possibilities Being Explored
    • Powertrain: PEEK Offers Unmatched Benefits While PPA Wins in Cost/Performance
    • Electrical & Electronics: Increase in Miniaturization Lead to Complexities in Material Selection
    • Electrical & Electronics: PPA Leads in Lightweighting While PPS Offers Better Processability
  • High Performance Polymers in the Aerospace Industry
    • Material Processing Key to Meet New Design Standards
    • Identification of End Use Cases in the Aerospace Industry
    • Cabin Interiors: Need for Tough Pre-coloured Thin-walled Parts With Smooth Surfaces
    • Cabin Interiors: PEI and PPSU Simplify Processing Steps to Surface Finish
    • Aerostructure: Aerodynamics-enabled Efficiency Improvements Driving Change
    • Aerostructure: PEEK-based Composites Lead the Way in Metal-topolymer Transition
    • Systems and Support: Electrification and Electronic Control Systems Create New Challenges
    • System and Support: LCP Exceeds PPA Performance, While PEEK and PPS Remain on Top
    • Propulsion: Composites Drive Engine Design as Nacelle Parts are Developed Using Plastics
    • Propulsion: Composites Using PI and PEEK Ideal For Hot Sections of Aircraft
  • Key Innovators and Innovations in High Performance Polymers
    • Bio-renewable PEEK and 3D Printable PEEK Grades are Being Explored
    • 3D Printed Aircraft Wind Blades - A Possibility With PEEK
    • Composite Development Redefining Strength and Endurance
    • PEI Composites Offer Lightweighting and Ideal For Interiors
    • Wear-friction Grades of PAI With Enhanced Electrical Properties
    • New Variants of PAI and PPA to Improve Engine Efficiencies
    • Modified PI Expands Horizon of Polymers in Automotive
  • Intellectual Property Landscape Analysis (2015 - 2017)
    • Patent Filing Trends Indicate Consistent Growth in Research Interest
    • SABIC Leads in Patent Filings Followed by BASF
    • OEMs Such as Ford and General Motors are in Forefront of IP Filings in Automotive Sector
    • Airbus and Boeing are Considered as Trailblazers in Enabling New Design Using HPPs for Aerospace Applications
  • Key Patents
    • Key Patents Related to New Processes in Aerospace
    • Key Patents Related to Polyphenylene Sulfide (PPS)
    • Key Patents Related to Polyetheretherketone (PEEK)
    • Key Patents Related to Thermoplastic Polyimide (PI)
    • Key Patents Related to Polyetherimide (PEI)
    • Key Patents Related to Polyamideimide (PAI)
    • Key Patents Related to Polyphenylenesulfone (PPSU)
    • Key Patents Related to Polyethersulfone (PESU)
    • Key Patents Related to Polysulfone (PSU)
    • Key Patents Related to Polyphthalamide (PPA)
    • Key Patents Related to Per Fluoroalkoxy Alkane (PFA)
    • Key Patents Related to Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP)
    • Key Patents Related to Poly Aryl Amide (PARA)
  • Key Contacts

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